The Antiquities Act and National Monuments: A Progressive Conservation Legacy

Part of the Antiquities Act project

Author(s): Hal K. Rothman

Year: 1999


The Antiquities Act of June 8, 1906, may be the most important piece of preservation legislation

ever enacted by the United States government. Although its title suggests a limited focus on archeological matters, in practice the law became a cornerstone of preservation in the federal system. By allowing Presidents extraordinary power to preserve cultural and “scientific” features on public land, it created a mechanism for rapid decisionmaking concerning the disposition of federal lands. The category of park areas established under its auspices, the national monuments, became the most diverse and varied collection under federal administration. At times the monument category seemed a storehouse of places with a chance at eventual national park status, other places with significant attributes but lacking the spectacular qualities associated with national parks, and a number of curiosities added to the park system as a result of political porkbarreling.

Cite this Record

The Antiquities Act and National Monuments: A Progressive Conservation Legacy. Hal K. Rothman. CRM ,4. 1999 ( tDAR id: 374190) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8J964X7

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